When couples first get into therapy, there are a lot of thoughts and concerns that will come up.
This is understandable because relationships take time to heal and build trust.
According to John Maret Counseling, it’s also common for both partners to experience couples therapy differently, depending on their background and presenting issues.
Stabilization, or establishing safety and a sense of mutual understanding, is often the first stage in couples therapy. The goal is to get the couple to a point where they can share and hear what each other is feeling and understand what is happening in the relationship without being overwhelmed or pushed out of the room by their own distress.
During this phase, the couple may also start to develop some insight into their own issues and what is causing their problems in the relationship. This is an important phase of couples therapy, and the couple must find a therapist that can help them process what they are going through.
This can be a challenging and difficult time for the couple. At this point, they need to trust the therapist to be there for them and support them through this time.
Another important thing to remember during this stage is that the couple needs to learn that they are more than their problems. This is the beginning of the rebuilding and healing that will be needed in order for the couple to have a healthy, happy relationship again.
The process of stabilization in couples therapy does not mean that the couple will not have any further problems or challenges in their relationship. However, they will be able to handle the problem better and have more coping tools and skills.
During this phase, the therapist will also be working on increasing their own understanding of themselves as well as their clients. This is important for them to be able to become more empathic and compassionate to their clients.
It is also important for them to be able to feel safe in the sessions so that they can have a chance to get to know their clients more deeply. This will make it easier for them to be able to provide the right kind of feedback and guidance in the future.
Throughout the therapy, the therapist will need to be open about what is going on with them and their own feelings, as well as their thoughts, emotions, memories, values, and assumptions or biases. This is important for them to be a good therapist for their clients.
2. Going Deeper
One of the most important aspects of couples therapy is establishing a strong sense of trust between therapist and client. This can take time, so the couple needs to feel confident that they’re working with someone who will treat them honestly and professionally.
It’s also crucial to ensure that both partners are willing and able to open up during sessions. If one partner keeps secrets from the other, this can inhibit progress in the therapy process and lead to divorce later on.
For this reason, it’s critical to communicate with your therapist ahead of time about what you want to get out of couples therapy. This way, your therapist can be sure to tailor their approach to your specific goals.
This can help your therapist build a more effective and lasting relationship with you. It’s also a great way to keep your therapist accountable for working with you.
Your therapist will work with you to identify your issues and then discuss ways to address them. This can include addressing past traumas, learning to communicate more effectively, and improving conflict resolution skills.
Another aspect of this stage of couples therapy is that your therapist will encourage you to share difficult feelings and experiences with each other. This can be scary and uncomfortable, but being open and honest with your therapist about your issues is important.
You and your therapist will focus on the negative effects of these issues on your relationship. This is called repairing work. It’s also an opportunity for you to strengthen your emotional bond with your partner.
During this stage, you’ll continue exploring new insights and techniques you’re learning. This can be challenging, especially if you’re trying to figure out how to implement the changes you’ve made in your relationship.
A good therapist will help you develop communication and interpersonal skills that will support your new understandings and understandings of each other. This can include identifying emotions, discussing conflict, and practicing mindfulness skills.
It’s also important to make sure you’re not distracted by your phone during sessions. A 2014 survey found that 25 percent of people in a serious relationship are guilty of “phubbing” (or distracting their partner with their phone). This can negatively impact your relationships over time.
3. Repair Work
During this stage of couples therapy, the therapist will often ask you to share something difficult for your relationship. This may feel uncomfortable in front of a stranger, but it is very important that the therapist get a full picture of the issues that have been making your relationship difficult.
The therapist will then ask you to set goals to help them understand how to best support you in this process. These goals might be building intimacy, resolving conflict, or working on communication skills.
After both partners have set their goals, the therapist will lead them through a series of steps to make those goals a reality. This is also a great time to write down any other ideas or concerns that you have about how this therapy session will work.
For example, you might want to know what the first question your therapist will ask you will be or what kind of role you would like your therapist to play in the process. This will give the therapist more insight into your personal needs and can help them tailor the sessions to meet those needs.
This is also a great opportunity for your therapist to talk to you about the logistics of couples therapy, such as confidentiality and informed consent. These things may differ for each therapist, but this information is important so you know what to expect.
During this couple therapy phase, you will learn about repair attempts, which are statements or actions that can help prevent negativity from escalating during arguments. These can be as simple as using the right tone of voice or taking a break from talking for a few moments to let your partner settle down.
These aren’t one-size-fits-all, but you can practice and memorize them so that they become second nature to you when it comes time to use them during conflict discussions.
You can practice these repair attempts with your partner before an argument happens so that they will be a natural part of the way you communicate. In the end, they are an invaluable tool that can save your relationship from serious damage.
Integration is the ability to connect disparate systems. This includes software programs like apps and databases and business processes like data migration. A company that needs to integrate data from one platform with another may use APIs (application programming interface) or an iPaaS (integration platform as a service).
In couples therapy, integration can mean improving communication skills, increasing insight into dysfunctional patterns of interaction, and learning new coping strategies. In addition, it can mean making significant behavioral changes.
During this stage of therapy, a couple’s therapist can utilize many methods to achieve these goals. Two of the most common methods are active listening and cinematic immersion, both of which are designed to help couples hear and understand each other’s feelings in a safe environment.
Some therapists might even use a combination of techniques to achieve this. Some of these include using a tool such as a video chat or a digital board to create a collaborative space for couples to work through issues.
A good therapist will also be aware of the latest research on effective therapy and the most relevant evidence-based approaches to couples counseling. They will be able to recommend what techniques they feel will best benefit your relationship and the most important tools you can bring to the table.
The first session is a time to get to know your therapist on a personal level. Typically, your therapist will ask you about your relationship history and the main problems you are experiencing. They will also go over the logistics of couples therapy and talk about informed consent and confidentiality.
There is no right or wrong way to choose a therapist, but speaking with more than one practitioner before settling on the right one for you and your partner can be helpful. You can do this by speaking with a couple of therapists or checking out their profiles on Zencare.
A therapist who gets to the root of your issues is likely the most effective, but you need to find the right person for you and your partner. Consider asking friends, family, and healthcare providers for referrals to a good therapist in your area.